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BAYANIHAN – Filipinos’ Last and Only Hope in Beating the Odds of Times

Illegal drugs, criminality, corruption in the government – these are the evil things killing the Filipino people for many decades. The government and its armed forces alone are not enough to cure the bleeding wound of our generation. The hope of a better Philippines will come from us – the people.

As a Filipino, what really went wrong with us? Why are we living in this society full of hatred, bias, inequality, and divisiveness?

The Spirit of Filipino Bayanihan in the Philippines

This blog is meant to uncover the truth behind a distinct Filipino culture that got hidden in the dark for decades - BAYANIHAN. I had been blogging for about a decade and I have shared a lot of the stories telling why Filipinos are divided in terms of political and religious beliefs, ignorant in the many aspects of the society, denied of our rights and privileges over many things, and betrayed by a few elites running the political and economic systems of the land. It could be only two things: we were being fooled yet we are not aware of it or we were fooling others for personal gains up to now.

But let me be clear that ideas here are shared not because we want to blame the government, present or future, or finger point a person, group or organization for their mistakes. Our failure as a society is the result of our collective actions as Filipinos. We did the wrong things; we will have to suffer their consequences. Nevertheless, what this article aims to achieve for us Filipinos, you and me, is that we will be more aware of the reality and make the necessary adjustments, changes and actions in our best capacity. And BAYANIHAN is the key to this.

Now, pay attention!

One way or the other, your better (or worst) future will depend on your deeper and sincere understanding of how life goes on in the Philippines. Becoming a Filipino is not an odd per se. It is who we are, our DNA unique to others, and we cannot blame ourselves for that. But being a Filipino living in a beautiful yet mismanaged country we have today, is an odd we have to face everyday.

Here are the odds of being a Filipino in these modern days.


The Odds of Filipinos Walking in Philippine Streets
It is dangerous, threatening and weird to walk on many cities, towns and rural streets in the country. Sad but true. Let me explain these clearly for this is not a revelation meant to cause panic or harm. I’m also not in any way referring to lack of measures on part of our government the reason why these happens. The fault is on many of us.

Typical Street Life in Philippine Towns

It is dangerous in the sense that the sidewalks meant for walkers or pedestrians are being used by vendors, resulting to people walking right on the streets where vehicles are passing by. This is not about science that needs to be proven, but this is a fact you will observe everyday. Our lives are in danger of getting caught in an accident, either being bumped by a car, become the cause of car collisions or get a ticket for jay walking and pay for it.

During the night, many of us are still minding our safety walking pass dark street corners or waiting for jeep or bus along pickup points. Why? Because we’ll never know if the person next to us is a pickpocket, a drug addict or a riding-in-tandem with evil intentions. The news is too much to prove this fact. We cannot guarantee our safety in many streets while these evils are loitering around.

What are weird in our streets? Entangled cables, multiple ad banners, vandals, foul odors caused of human urines, unpleasant smell coming from sewers and canals, jeepneys loading and unloading on prohibited areas, “barkers” or “dispatchers” stopping jeepneys and allowing passengers to ride on prohibited zones thus causing traffic jams, street food vendors with no regard to smoke or pollution coming from vehicles and getting into the foods they’re selling, and undisciplined drivers – thousands of them! Again, these are the sad and alarming facts we cannot deny.

Daily Traffic Flow in EDSA

Is this the government’s fault? No. Not really. It is our fault and it is only us who can correct these mistakes.


The Odds of Filipinos Commuting via Public Transport
Tricycle, jeepney, bus, taxi, van, train, airplane, boat and ship, these are the basic means of transportation here in the Philippines. Overloading, illegal terminal, drug-positive drivers, unsafe vehicle design for passengers, over-speeding, counterflowing, lack of safety gears, “colorums” vehicles or franchise violators, and more violation of transportation laws; these are the odds of riding public utility vehicles in the Philippines.

Inside a Public Utility Bus

Imagine a 12-seater van being filled with 18 to 20 passengers. A 60-seater bus loaded with 20 to 30 more standing passengers; where is safety there? How come those white, yellow or red taxis are collecting fare beyond of the exact meter rate? How about boats and ships sinking which results to the loss of lives of hundreds of passengers during typhoon months? Even the flying vehicles are not an exemption. Overbooking, long hours or delays, and mismanaged flight cancellations happens almost everyday in airports around the country. Problems of overcrowding in MRT, LRT and PNR trains has been there for decades! Filipinos, including you, are doomed given these alarming facts of commuting.

White Taxis Queue Beside a Shopping Mall

You cannot guarantee your 100% safety along the roads and highways because of the undisciplined drivers whom are issued with licenses by the LTO. Your driver could be a disciplined one, but of that bus or truck or motorcycle or car next or after you, you’ll never know if they are. A big wrong is obviously there.

Isn’t that our population is growing rapidly that the capacity of our public transport systems has been exceeded?


The Odds of Filipinos Finding a Job
When was the last time you applied for a job? Well, do you still remember those long queues, long list of requirements, hours of commute, expensive fees in getting government-mandated documents, and worst of all, fixers trying to speed up the process in exchange of hefty amount? That is in plain and simple word “BULLSHIT!”. How many times you scratch your head, utter a curse or swear word, bath into sweat after walking and running and rushing, and was told to go back days after to claim or collect that logically speaking “unnecessary” documents?

Job Seekers Applying for Government-mandated Documents

In the Philippines, if finding a job is difficult, so is when you get hired. That is the sad truth here in the country. Competition is one of the main reasons. With thousands of fresh graduates produced by thousands of colleges and universities around the country each year, certainly, many applicants will be rejected or denied. They will be categorized as “unemployed” for a year or more. In our slang term, they are now “tambay” (or jobless). Job-to-skills mismatch is another. While that is the reason always cited by employers, truth is, most of us are unqualified because we are short of experience, has poor scholastic achievement, the school we came from is not popular, and we have below-the-standards profile. They will not tell you these stuffs because “discrimination” is a no-no thing in recruitment, but in reality, it exists in many companies and corporations here.

List of Government-mandated Documents

To find out more about the odds in getting a decent job in the Philippines, read my posts about job haunting by clicking this links:

Filipino Job Seekers: Here are the Practical Tips on How to Get a (Good) Job in the Philippines – Part 1



The Odds of Filipinos Voting a Political Candidate
Of the many voting citizens in the world, I could say Filipinos are the type of voters who find it too hard to move on after the defeat of their elected candidates. Well, the social media is the living proof to that. Even before the election day, Filipinos are actively into it - from bashing to mudslinging to black propagandas to death threats to killing in broad daylight of the political candidate. The international community is very much aware of the violence happening in the Philippine political system. But it is what it is.

Tarpaulins and Banners of Political Candidates

While Filipino votes are protected by the law known as “suffrage”, the voters themselves are not protected enough against vote buying, political violence, and corrupt practices of the winning politicians. Your vote is counted, tallied and that’s it basically. It takes weeks even months for the heated arguments on social media to subside. Ad banners are still pasted on walls and posts or still hanging on trees and cables. The automated election is always tainted with controversies, complaints, and failures. What is nerve-wrecking here is the fact that politicians will spend millions of pesos, not from his own pocket but from the government’s fund, just to secure a victory in the election.

Finger Marked with Indelible Ink During the 2019 Election

What is even worse of these all is the fact that after 3 to 6 years, the business of election is once again to fly onto the Philippines atmosphere, as if the odds are just repeating over and over again.

Read this post detailing the landscape of Philippines Election System:

2019 Philippines National and Local Election - Could this be the Politics that Will Save Us All?


The Odds of Filipinos Getting Government-mandated Permits and Licenses
A pre-requisite in getting a driver’s license, professional or non-professional, is to undergo the process of medical examination by an LTO-accredited clinic or hospital. You need to pay of course. In applying for a business permit, you need to complete a long list of requirements that will obviously take you days to complete.

Schedule of Fees for Applying a Driver's License


While the government is doing what it can to lighten up the burden of the Filipinos in completing the required test, permits and processes, still the difficulty is there. And here’s where the bigger problem comes in. Filipinos tend to skip the legal application process. They drive vehicles without the required license, or they may have one but has already expired. They are driving a non-registered vehicle. Many could have been operating a non-registered business for years, because they are pissed of the hardships in the application process. Some intentionally don’t care at all if it’s about the legal measures they have to comply with. Some are operating illegal businesses.

List of Requirements in Applying for a Business Permit

Should we blame the fixers? Or should we point towards corrupt government officials? How about us, aren’t we the real culprit on these crimes?


The Odds of Eating in Fast Food Chains
In the midst of poverty, many Filipinos are finding ways getting the cheapest yet quality food on their plates. For instance, “karinderya” or food stall or canteen is one of those that is able to provide this demand. Cheaper foods are served to every hungry Filipinos by this fast food chain located near offices, factories and residential communities. But there is always a question about food cleanliness and quality.

Inside a Food Court

There are many fast food merchandises in the Philippines, similar to what other countries have. In fact, many fast food establishments here is the result of globalization by well-renowned restaurants abroad. And with that influence, new fast food merchandises came to be, creating a huge chain. But the always question of many is: is the price right versus the quality they’re getting?

A Fast Food Chain Set of Meals

In shopping malls, fast food restaurants are everywhere. Yes, many Filipinos can afford to eat inside these food avenues, but these eaters are in some ways unaware of the for-profit schemes embedded on their bites and gulps. Eating in an airconditioned restaurant is a bit comfortable from eating in typical karinderya. But underneath that comfort is the fact that in every meal are the hidden costs of advertising, packaging and overheads including the air-conditioning – far over from the traditional karinderya cost per meal. Some say they are willing to pay more for quality and cleanliness.

But are Filipinos really getting what they are paying for? And are the foods served healthy enough? In a sense, no. We are paying for unhealthy, expensive and undersized servings of foods inside these fast food chains.


The Odds of Shopping in the Streets
If you’ve been into Divisoria, Quiapo or Baclaran, chances are, you we’re able to buy a lot of things in a relatively small budget. Yes, these places are the shopping centers-to-be if you’re on a tight budget. During the month of May, for example, prices of school materials are low, so Moms are rushing to get their kids the bags, uniforms and notebooks. While during Christmas season, that is from September to December here in the country, big “SALE” is in the air in these popular shopping centers.

Street Vendors in Divisoria

The fact is that these places is where shopping on the streets literally happens. The are malls or shops, but it has been a norm that vendors are occupying sidewalks, even the main streets, just to sell their goods. In many towns and cities in the Philippines, street vendors are everywhere. Some have permits, majority are doing it illegally. While it is true that it is relatively cheaper here compared to big shopping malls, sad to say, but the quality of most products is subpar. But that is just one of the many obvious downsides.

Tutuban Center Shopping Mall

Furthermore, the materials of products sold here are not approved by the Bureau of Food and Drugs, the quality is not passing the criteria of regulating bodies such as the International Standards Organization, and the markup of sellers, even though it is believed to be cheaper, is not well-regulated by the Department of Trade and Industry. In other words, Filipinos have no exact idea of the features of the products they are buying. Many products are fake, if not of poor quality. Toys that are made of unsafe chemicals, electronic devices that are counterfeited, foods that are not properly labeled; these are among of the odds of shopping in the Philippine streets.

You can read my post “Made in China” where you will gain a better understanding of this issue.


Now that we are aware of the odds, so what now? 

Allow me to tell my case.


BAYANIHAN Then
During my early childhood, when we were still living in a remote rural area in Batangas province, I can still remember how simple life is. We gather firewood in the nearby forest to cook our meals. We plant and harvest rice and corn in the fields. We catch fish in the river. I can clearly remember when I became part of a neighborhood activity where we transfer a nipa hut to a new site. After the long and tiring camaraderie, our lunch was fried “daing” (dried fish) and “ginisang mongo” (saute’ mung beans). Then many times I was part of the “pahasik” (planting), “pagamas” (weeding) and “pagapas” (harvesting) activities in the rice fields. Our group of about 20 folks are tired yet contented with our merienda consisting of "nilupak" (cassave cake) and "salabat" (ginger tea). Whenever there are wedding occasions, almost the entire community is present to contribute something – gathering firewood and slaughtering livestock for the men while baking rice cakes, cooking menus and decorating the venue for the women. That is how “bayanihan” is observed then in the “bukid” or rural communities.

Government Workers Painting a Pedestrian Crossing

When we transfer into the town, things went a little bit different. People tend to not participate that often in community works. Everybody is busy with their jobs and businesses. Years after that, I moved into the city for a job. It is much different. Bayanihan is rarely observed. People highly depends on the services of the government; firetrucks to extinguish fire, ambulance to transport patients, patrol vehicles to transport people, and barangay health workers to seek medical assistance. They are all paid services by people working for the government.


Threats to BAYANIHAN
What I want to tell about my story is that as we progress on our lives, our demand changes, and also our environment. What we see, hear and feel greatly influence our attitude towards others. The television, the internet, the billboards, and the way of life in the city, for instance, have great influence on our decisions in life. A Filipino who have been into a city for many years in the search for money may forget the culture and traditions he's practicing or observing in his homeland. Going back to simplicity is the last thing on our minds. This is exactly what went wrong with us.

What I can see are holes in the many aspects of our progress, be it individually or as Filipino society. The biggest hole is our lack of knowledge in facing the realities of changes in our society. We were drowned, blinded and denied of the truths about progress. That in progress is where the money is; and that in money is where our lives will change for good. That is what was told to us; and we believed and lived with it. Never mind the discipline, the care for others, the consideration for the environment, the respect for ones’ freedom or privacy; just so we can be progressive in our own respects. BAYANIHAN got buried deep in the ground, a distance our minds can no longer dug and reached.

Many of us, mainly our leaders, forget about fairness and equality – their real meaning. That for one to become wealthy, he or she will disregard the consequences of his or her actions – even to a point where he or she would harm others, directly or indirectly. There can be no equality in a country where money is regarded as the measure of how you will be treated by others. How fool it is to say that as a leader, you care for your countrymen or your constituents, but here they are walking on bare foot under the heat of the sun or cold rain while you are riding comfortably on you 2.5 million SUV? What is a business for if you no longer live by the call for Corporate Social Responsibility? Every business owner has the responsibility to protect and promote the welfare of everyone around his business. Not happening in the case of most businesses here in the Philippines.

Just look around Metro Manila, the disparity is quite obvious. People living on danger zones and here are people living on a 20-story luxury condominium just a few steps from that danger zones. But that is the only obvious disparity. Poor Filipinos are in a lot of ways receiving standards of treatment way below the rich ones receive. Could you imagine why there are private and public hospitals, private and public schools, private and public resorts, private and public offices? That is because in terms of fairness and equality, our Filipino leaders viewed it that way: one for the poor, one for the wealthy.

But because the odds are there doesn’t mean we will live in such situations forever. Truth is, there is still one last hope.


BAYANIHAN Now
We will rise. We will be better. Filipinos, in the spirit of “bayanihan”, will thrive. There will be a point in time that Filipinos will become a country well-loved, well-respected, and well-admired. I would suggest that we, who were given the chance to step on colleges and universities and now professionals in our own respects, must give back to the community, to the society. People who were blessed by the Almighty God by enough wealth, sharing is the best thing you can do. There are many things that we can do to beat the odds we are facing today, of walking away from being tormented and torn apart over and over again.

Village Folks Helping Each Other in Roasting a Lechon

And that will only happen if your perception of “Bayanihan” is from the heart.

Let the knowledge flow from us who are on currently on top, down to the very bottom of the society. Teach them the right things to do in life on your own simple ways. What it is to volunteer on cleanliness drives? What is it is to fund an educational workshop? What it is to speak in front of a group or community about your passion? Let us be helpful without asking for anything in return. That is the real essence of BAYANIHAN.

Fishermen and Tourists Working Hand-in-Hand in Pulling a Huge Fishing Net

The way to correct mistakes, incompleteness, failures, and holes in our society is not a rocket science. The fault is not from our government alone. The fault is from us, the Filipinos. And the corrective actions will come from nobody but us. All you need to have is that heart and mind, functioning as one, and the desire to let others learn and move on without asking for anything from them in return.


Practice BAYANIHAN All the Time
Let that word be engraved in our hearts and minds forever. BAYANIHAN is the willingness to help others until they are better and can stand on their own. BAYANIHAN can be expressed or shared physically, financially or thru sharing of knowledge. BAYANIHAN is teaching others what is right and what is wrong. BAYANIHAN is not just about helping in times of disasters, accidents or emergencies. BAYANIHAN is about passion, devotion to transform something into a better one. BAYANIHAN is a call to every Filipino, rich or poor, young or old, men or women, leader or follower, whoever you are, to do something good for the benefit of the Filipinos and our beloved Philippines.



About this Post
Thank you for reading this post. Your effort to disseminate this information is vital to the positive changes the author, Noriel Panganiban, of this blog is aiming for. Feel free to explore this blog site to learn more about the beautiful country of the Philippines. It is our cause to uplift the dignity of the Filipinos and of the entire Philippine nation.

ProjectPilipinas.com is made possible through the support of Knowriel.com, a knowledge and information site.

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